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Pelican is a hidden UC campus treasure

By Susan Cerny
Saturday December 01, 2001

Nestled above the south bank of Strawberry Creek, and somewhat hidden behind Barrows Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, is a small, one-story residentially scaled building with a bronze sculpture of a Pelican standing in front. Two readers have recently inquired about this quiet, but intriguing building. 

Anthony Hall was completed in 1957 for the UC student humor magazine “The California Pelican” founded in 1903 by Earl C. Anthony. Typical of Pelican humor, the magazine described itself in the 1908 Blue and Gold year book: “The Pelican continues to flap her wings ... and plunged into the sea of personalities to bring up unfortunate individuals for the college public to snatch from her pouch and devour.” The magazine was published until the mid-’60s.  

After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1903, Anthony (1881-1961) opened a Packard dealership in Los Angeles and others later in San Francisco and Oakland. To fuel the cars, he opened a string of gas stations, said to be the first to have neon-lit signage.  

Anthony was also a communications pioneer, establishing early radio station KFI and later a television station.  

Architect Bernard Maybeck designed Packard showrooms for Anthony in Oakland (1928, destroyed 1974), San Francisco (1926) and assisted with a 1928 showroom in Los Angeles. Maybeck also designed a large, residential estate for Anthony in Los Angeles between 1924 and 1928. Maybeck and Anthony were fellow members of the Bohemian Club. 

Around 1954 Anthony offered to donate a campus building for the Pelican magazine and wanted Maybeck to design it. But Maybeck, now in his 80s, had been retired for many years and offered to be a consultant. Ultimately the task of designing the building in the spirit of Maybeck went to Joseph Esherick.  

Like Maybeck’s 1910 First Church of Christ Science, the light and airy Pelican building has floor-to-ceiling industrial steel frame windows. Dark wood post and beam structural members are exposed and the posts are capped with cast-concrete capitals of a stylized pelican design. The walls are earth-toned stucco and the roof is tile. This beautifully scaled and thoughtful building is now used by the Graduate Assembly.  


Susan Cerny is author of “Berkeley Landmarks”and writes this series in conjunction with the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.